|Posted by William Abruzzo on March 5, 2016 at 12:35 AM|
Crostata di Prugne e' Noce (Rustic Plum and Walnut Tart)
This week's recipe takes us to the hills of FRIULI-GIULIA-VENEZIA. The small oval-shaped plums known as “Italian Plums” are sweet and flavorful. You can find them in most supermarkets in the United States towards the end of summer. This variety of plum grows throughout northern Italy and neighboring Slovenia and Croatia, where plums are cultivated on a much larger scale to meet the demands for “sljivovica”, a traditional plum brandy. If you travel through the countryside of these regions in late summer, you are sure to see groves of plum trees full of ripe fruit that are shades of deep purple and blue. It is quite a beautiful sight! With firm flesh and soft skin, Italian plums are perfect for baking in a rustic tart called “crostata”. Here is an easy crostata recipe that is sure to please. For a rustic presentation, make an open faced tart by folding the edges up and over the filling. If you prefer, bake the crostata in a pie dish and arrange strips of dough in a fancy lattice pattern on top.
All Purpose Pre-sifted Flour (3 cups)
Vegetable Shortening (¾ cup)
Butter (¼ cup)
Salt (1 tsp)
Cold Water (about 2/3 cup)
Italian Plums (2 lbs -about 12 to14)
Walnuts (1/3 cup chopped)
Cinnamon (¼ tsp)
Sugar (¼ cup and 1 tbs)
Chop the walnuts. Slice the plums in half, remove the pits, toss them with the cinnamon and ¼ cup of sugar, and set them to the side. Place the flour in a mixing bowl and incorporate the salt. Cut the shortening and butter into the flour and work it with your hands until you achieve the texture of oatmeal. Add the cold water, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough pulls together into a ball.
Next, roll out the dough between sheets of plastic wrap. This will make it easier to transport from your work surface to the baking sheet. Cover your entire work surface with plastic wrap and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Turn the dough onto the wrap, pat it down to 1 inch thickness, sprinkle it lightly with flour, and then cover it with a second layer of wrap. Roll out the dough to just less than ¼ inch thickness and remove the top layer of wrap. Lift the dough using the bottom layer of wrap, turn it on to a lightly greased baking sheet, and then remove the wrap.
Arrange the plum halves, cut side up, in a pattern of concentric circles in the center of the dough, staying about 3 inches in from the edges. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts over top, and then 1 tablespoon of sugar. Fold and crease the outer edges of the dough up and over the plums to make a rustic open-faced tart. Place the crostata in a preheat 375 degree oven. After 20 minutes, brush the dough lightly with egg that has been beaten with a splash of water. Continue baking for another 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Serve the crostata at room temperature. Serves 4 to 6 adults.
Categories: Desserts + Liqueurs